Briefly I glimpsed a Monarch butterfly earlier in the summer, but was unable to get a photograph. Fast forward and today a Monarch was in residence in the garden exploring, flitting between recently opened zinnias and lantana and I snapped several shots before it darted away.
I stationed myself close into the lantana where, while waiting for the monarch to reappear, I was lucky to witness this fascinating
Hummingbird Moth (Hemaris thysbe) Snowberry Clearwing (Hemaris diffinis). Thought you might enjoy seeing it in action. I have noticed more than usual of these hummingbird clearwings moths around the garden this year. [2018-07-23 note: Had help correctly identifying this through iNaturalist.org.]
When the monarch returned and began enjoying lantana, the hummingbird moth buzzed by rather aggressively. Collecting itself, the butterfly hopped to another flower and resumed the business at hand.
In the past several years I saw few or no monarchs, but I hope to see lots this year. The flower that attracted this one is Lantana camara (Common lantana).
The tree in the background is Juniperus chinensis ‘Blue Point’ (Blue Point Juniper). It is one of five planted about 7 years ago as a screening hedge and is the only one that survived the past winter. The others are completely brown but I’m waiting until fall to have them removed.